Grounding and defining identity

Noûs 57 (4):850-876 (2022)
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I systematically defend a novel account of the grounds for identity and distinctness facts: they are all uniquely zero‐grounded. First, this Null Account is shown to avoid a range of problems facing other accounts: a relation satisfying the Null Account would be an excellent candidate for being the identity relation. Second, a plenitudinist view of relations suggests that there is such a relation. To flesh out this plenitudinist view I sketch a novel framework for expressing real definitions, use this framework to give a definition of identity, and show how the central features of the identity relation can be deduced from this definition.

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Jon Litland
University of Texas at Austin


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